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Seven dead in Serb helicopter crash

A Serbian military helicopter has crashed near Belgrade while evacuating a sick baby from the south of the country, killing all seven people on board.

The defence ministry said no one survived the crash last night near Belgrade's international airport, 18 miles west of the capital.

State TV said the Russian-made MI-17 transport helicopter was carrying four crew members, two medical workers and the five-day-old baby with life-threatening respiratory problems.

The crash occurred in foggy weather. Several commercial flights which tried to land at the airport had to be rerouted to other destinations because of the poor visibility.

The military said contact with the aircraft was lost after it apparently tried to make an emergency landing while running out of fuel near the airport. Floodlights at two of Belgrade's biggest football stadiums were lit to help the pilots to find a spot to land.

The helicopter was dispatched to the southern region of Raska after an ambulance transporting the baby to an emergency hospital in Belgrade got stuck by a landslide blocking the road.

Defence minister Bratislav Gasic said the aircraft was the only one in the army with advanced medevac equipment. He called the killed pilots "the best" the army had.

Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic called for a day of mourning and offered condolences to the families of the victims.

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